We've been talking about research, mostly medical/drug recently, and I thought this was a logical extension of that discussion - but so different it needed its own thread.
A Brighter Look at Milgram's Obedience Study
Mises Daily, by Michael Kitchens
If the legitimacy of the state arises from the people's consent, then the prospects for a free society largely depend on the psychological processes of the individual members of society. That is to say, if people's psychological processes are designed for a social order in which there exists an institution that uses force to acquire resources and that monopolizes protection and defense — to use Rothbard's description of the state — then the prospects of a free society stand little chance. If, however, people's psychological processes are designed best to maintain order through bottom-up techniques (e.g., by natural social order developing through a mutual and cultural acceptance of what is appropriate for coexistence in peace), then Rothbard's vision stands a very good chance. (see the rest at the source)
I had read quite a bit about Milgram's study long ago, but never formed any sense of urgency or alarm over those conclusions myself. This article caught my eye because, I think, it gave substance to some of my own misgivings of the interpretations of that original study. Anyone who watches large groups of peaceful, cooperative people over any length of time sees the "authority figure" and obedience to authority as an infrequent thing rather than the norm. I see it becoming more the norm when peaceful and cooperative interaction are thwarted by coercion and violence without much opportunity for self defense.
Of course mine is a simplistic analysis, but that's how I see the general picture. This article certainly supports my optimism for a truly voluntary society.